I'm always thinking about research ideas. (And would LOVE to turn off that part of my brain.)
This one surfaced the other day: The "sociability" factor of the late-19th-century American brewing industry.
As many of you know, that industry was built almost entirely by German immigrants, who brought with them a beer culture that, based on socializing, families, and conviviality, was the diametric opposite of the alcohol culture that existed then in the United States.
But the brewers themselves enjoyed, as near as I can tell, a microcosm of that culture among themselves: Their gatherings were as much about socializing and "community building" as they were about discussing issues related to alcohol and beer.
I say as near as I can tell because --- I can't read German. And many of the original American brewing industry journals were in German.
In any case, based on my perusal of the industry magazines/journals printed in English, brewers then were less interested in competition (although there was plenty of that) than they were in using those printed outlets to foster "community" among brewers who were scattered around the country (at a time transportation and communications bore no resemblance to the easy-peasy communications now).
Someone who can read German should take a look at that. How much did that beer community resemble --- or not --- today's supposedly tight-knit brewing industry/community?
Have at it.